Archive for January, 2010

Dubstep 2010 : January Reviews

Posted in Review on January 25, 2010 by joeki2000

We are still only in the first month of the new decade, but already some established names and labels have released some interesting releases. A quick review of some of the early 2010 releases.

Hyetal & Shortstuff – Don’t Sleep / Ice Cream
Martyn – Hear Me / Seventy Four (remixes)
Starkey – Rain City / Beatingz
VA – Sub:Stance mixed by Scuba

Hyetal & Shortstuff – Don’t Sleep / Ice Cream (Punch Drunk)
Hyetal was one of the best new artists to emerge in 2009. Several of his releases received attention on this blog too. For Punch Drunk it was a big year as well with several big twelves and two full albums. Shortstuff had a slew of releases out last year as well on Ramp recordings and sorts. The three combine for a festive and funky kick-start to the new year. The A side, Don’t Sleep, is not one of my favourite tracks. It’s synthy riff like structure has Shortstuff written all over it. Indeed, the melodic quality of the tune is not my problem. It’s the rhythm that’s not up my alley. At 130 bpm’s it doesn’t quite persuades me into invading the dance floor. The AA side, Ice Cream is what it’s really about on this one.  The synths in this track are ridiculously infectious and the rhythm edges more towards traditional dub. Deep house subbass emerges in the background as well. This track clearly carries Hyetal’s stamp which becomes more apparent as the song evolves.  Funky and indeed a new direction for Punch Drunk.

Martyn – Hear Me ( Zomby rmx ) / Seventy four ( Redshape rmx ) (3024)
The original  Hear Me featured on Martyn’s 2K9 full length (see review on this blog). It was one of the strongest tracks on that album.  A remix of a strong track is always a risky undertaking. Indeed Zomby’s remix is not without its flaws. The track starts very recognisable with crunky sounds in the background. Trademark Zomby style.  But when the rhythm section cuts in, Zomby’s earlier rave style comes through. At first this mid pace rhythm comes off as a little awkward to me but as the song progresses I appreciated it more. An interesting remix but it doesn’t top the original for me. Redshape provides a minimal techno remix of  Seventy Four on the flip side. Some nice attention to melody here.  Both tracks handle the vocal bits of the original tracks very well.  All in All, the AA side is the more successful undertaking, if you’re into (minimal) techno that is.

Starkey – Rain City / Beatingz (rwina)
Starkey has the first major tune of the year under his belt with Rain City. It sounds like a dub and electro cross-over to me. Normally I loath electro as it is bland, cheaply produced and too repetitive. But coupled with Starkey’s melodic and glitchy approach to dub, this becomes a very solid tune. Great melody and rhythm and probably one of the better tracks of the year already. Beatingz has a trademark Starkey vibe through it with more wonky and glitchy vibes backed up by a solid bass. The only thing about this release that bothered me is the opening minute to this track which is a bit skipable.

Sub:Stance Mixed by Scuba ( Ost Gutton )
Scuba had another decent year in 2K9 with some solid releases on his own hotflush label and a remix here and there. But a lack of real standout tracks was a bit disappointing (except for maybe the Aesaunic EP). He returns early in 2K10 with this splendid mix CD on German label Ost Gutton.  The mixing is as good as it gets and the track list is excellent. It mostly consists of what I call borderline dub. With contributions from Sigha, Pangaea, Joy Orbison,  Untold and Scuba himself, he has managed to insert some highlight tracks into the mix that thus also becomes genre defying. The feel of the mix  constantly shifts  from dub techno, to house to garage and back again. In the latte part of the mix there is a little more room for anthem-style dub (the wonky goodness of Joker or the rhythmic masterpieces of Mala) but don’t expect any straight forward dub in this mix. Recommended if you want to explore the fringes of dubstep and stay away from the more straight forward dance floor wobble.

Cheerz, see you next time.

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Dubstep 2009 : The Best tracks, Remixes

Posted in General News on January 8, 2010 by joeki2000

After having taken a look at some of the most consistent 12″ of the year 2K9, it’s tim to go indepth on the best tracks and remixes of 2K9, starting with the tracks.

The Best 25 tracks of 2009 :
in alphabetical order : artist – track (label)

Blue Daisy – Wolf (black acre)
Coki – Square Off (dancing demons)
Darkstar – Aidy’s Girl is a Computer (hyperdub)
Emalkay – When I look at You (dubpolice)
Excision & Datsik – Swagga (ex7)
Falty DL – Human Meadow (planet mu)
Guido – Way You Make Me Feel (punch drunk)
Headhunter – Sex At the Prom (tempa)
Hyetal – Pixel Rainbow Sequence (reduction)
Ikonika – We Could be Icons (planet mu)
Jakes – Rock tha Bells (hench)
Joker & Ginz – Purple City (kapsize)
Joy Orbison – Hyph Mngo (hotflush)
Jus Wan – Azure (pushing red)
Marlow – Cattle Prod (no comply)
Noah D – Seeeriouss! (subway)
Pangaea – Memories (whitelabel)
Radikal Guru – Dub Down Babylon (dubbed out)
Search & Destroy – Blue Mantra (destructive)
Sigha & Spherix – Seperation (immerse)
Skream – Just Being Me (southside dubstars)
Synkro – Autumn (synkro)
Synkro – My Own World (mindset)
Truth – The Fatman (deep medi musik)
Untold – Sweat (hotflush)

So get these tracks on vinyl or digital download asap and you’ll know what 2K9 was all about. It’s got all sorts of dub : from filthy bits, to deep tunes, from wonky to cross over, from 130 to 150 bpm’s. It’s all there. Check these out!

The 10 Best Remixes of 2009 :
In alphabetical order, released tunes only (no dubs).
Original Artist – track name [ Remix by ]

2nd II None – Waterfallz [ Peverelist Remix ]
Deepchild – Wannadoo [ Gravious Remix ]
Distance – Nightvision [ Skream Remix ]
DJ Madd- Someone [ Breakage Remix ]
Jose James – Blackmagic [ Joy Orbison Remix ]
Kontext – Plumes [ Relocate Remix ]
La Roux – In For The Kill [ Skream Remix ]
Rob Sparx – What U Gonna Do [ Numbernin6 Remix ]
Skream & Cluekid – Sandsnake [ Goth-Trad Remix ]
The Prodigy – Take Me To The Hospital [ Rusko Remix ]
Zarif – Over [ Breakage Remix ]

Dubstep 2009 : The best 12″

Posted in General News on January 4, 2010 by joeki2000

Here is an overview of some of the best 12″ dubstep related to come out this year. No full albums in this list, no EP’s either and no dubplates. More on that will follow shortly when I have some more time. The list is generally in alphabetical order by the way.

Breakage – Together / Rain (digital soundboy)
Breakage has been one of the top producers this year. His deep and slower tunes really speak to me as they provide a somewhat old school vibe. Dark dubstep from the 2006/2007 era with great atmospherics. Breakage released a number of tracks this year (including some awesome remixes) but his best and most consistent one was this. The A side is a dark throbbing nodder whilst the AA side is a melodic track suited for blazing out.

Burial & Four Tet – Wolf Cub / Moth (text recordings)
The two tracks are collaborations and both artists take about up 50% of each track. The A side has the two-step rhythm’s of Burial matched with the Four Tet melodies, vice versa on the other side. Moth is surely the superior track with it’s melodies and haunting vocal samples. We want more Burial in 2010.

DJ Madd – Someone / [Breakage remix] (blackbox)
DJ Madd has been a guarantee for quality deeper tunes with a garage touch and some melodic qualities. This shone through most in this track. But it’s really about the remix for me, where Breakage just adds a very dark and heavy atmosphere to the track.

Giant – Drumstick / Swoosh (h.e.n.c.h.)
Let’s face it, we need dance floor crackers in this list too. And this was one of the heaviest about. Also very catchy. There is no compromise in this Russian DJ’s style. Either you brock out, or leave the floor.

Guido – Beautiful Complication / Chakra (punch drunk)
Guido did a hell of a job representing the funky Bristol sound. His other 12″ also deserves a place on this list. But this one is just a little bit superior. The vocal contribution by Aarya is marvellous and the melodic qualities of Chakra are endless. Shake it baby.

Hyetal – Neon Speech / Gold Or Soul (soul motive)
More Bristol based sounds  from Hyetal. His Pixel Rainbow Sequence tune was probably the number one pick along with ‘We Should light a fire’ (featured on MAH compilation cd). But this 12 was the most consistent one as both sides are worth a listen. Heavy bass, great nostalgic melodies and swirling garage rhythms.

Indigo & SYNKRO – Runes / My Own World (mindset)
Indigo perfects the dub techno style, whilst SYNKRO provides the usual garage-inspired quality matched on this cut with a vocal sample from Marvin Gay. What more do you need (other than a spliff perhaps.)

Joy Orbison – Hyph Mngo / Wet Look (hotflush)
The A side is a strong contender for track of the year but the aa side is also a much overlooked gem. In my opinion Joy Orbison is easily the best new producer to emerge in 2009. A fresh style in dub forefronted by others like Falty DL. His other 12″ on doldrum is also very good and I can’t wait to hear more from him in 2010.

Kryptic Minds – Life Continuum / Wondering Why (osiris musik)
Kryptic Minds had a slew of releases out this year, each and everyone loaded with quality. But this is probably their most overlooked one. It is also the best one. The A side is a dark stepper in the same style as the full length album but the aa side offers a different approach mixing in a garage/2 step rhythm and gorgeous vocal sample.

Lung – Afterlife / Time (kokeshi)
A late release but surely worth the wait. Though I find his tracks a little thin on the production side (and the rhythm sections a little overcrowded), I can’t help but fall in love with the melodic qualities of both these tracks.

Pangaea – Memories / (whitelabel)
Though his 12″ on hotlfush is also  certainly a contender, this single sided 12″ will also top many end of year lists. Epic swirling rhythms and another beautiful vocal sample make this one hard to forget.

SYNKRO – Everyday / Tell Me (synkro)
SYNKRO could have been on here with any single release as far as I’m concerned. He has been one of the consistent top producers of the last two years. I chose this one simply because it only contains two tracks, but really, any of his releases will do.

Truth – The Fatman / Stolen Children (deep medi musik)
One of the bangers of 2009 which I will always remember. Dark, hard, dance floor dub. You need to have it.

Note that these 12″ have been selected for consistency. It doesn’t mean they are the best tracks. It means both sides are consistent and you can’t go wrong when buying them. I will mention a few other 12″ that are less consistent, but might contain better tracks, later when I talk about the best producers/tracks/remixes of the year in the next edition soon to come.